The colour green – or why hops ought to be selected in the dark

Green is the colour of hope. The word is derived from the Old High German verb “gruoen”, meaning “to grow”, “to sprout” or “to flourish”. No wonder that hops are green, then. But do they have to be? Does colour tell us anything about quality? What are we looking for in hops? Do they have to look good? Does anyone ever see them, apart from the brewer, his apprentices and the people in the lab? Aren’t the... read more

The bitter truth about bitterness units

Determining the EBC bitterness units in beer is, in itself, very simple: the absorption value of the beer is simply multiplied by 50. The 50 is an empirical value which means that 5/7 of the bitterness comes from the iso-alpha acids, the remainder from other substances. This is often correct for beers in the range of 15-35 bitterness units, but unfortunately not always, because several factors can... read more

In the beginning there was a cone…

Hops belong to the Cannabinaceae family…the plant is already likable! What is even more likable about hops is that the male plants are essentially not needed (except for breeding purposes, whenever they are called upon…) and therefore the males don’t need to search for anything in the hop field! (It is a bit different in England, but we’ll get to that later…) The hop cone, or the fruit of the female hop... read more